An Artful Approach to Environmental Issues

Above: Oyster Reef II, mixed media on canvas, 24" x 24" 2014

The connection between art and nature is timeless. The beauty and mystery of the natural world have always served as a source of creative inspiration. With nature now at the center of much debate, from recognizing climate change to strategies for prevention or adaptation, artists may find themselves uniquely qualified to contribute to the conversation. Art has the vocabulary by which to reach us on the only level that may be effective in moving hearts and minds to make the systemic changes necessary to adapt to the new realities of climate change. It is a primal language that helps us remember, in the deepest places of our being, that we are of this world and not separate from it. This message has never been as important as it is today, since it will only be by truly remembering our place in the web of life that we will be able to work toward establishing a more harmonious relationship with our changing planet. Therefore, in a time when it may be crucial to our very existence to examine and redefine our civilization's relationship with nature, it is exciting to see artists among the thought leaders in this discussion, both locally and globally.

In fact, "climate change art" is becoming a veritable movement, as more leaders recognize the value of leveraging a creative approach to communicating the message as well as developing solutions. In my native state of Virginia, sea level rise is an issue that is very real for residents of cities like Norfolk. City leaders have decided to "explore the issues through art work" by creating the